For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the U.S. tax system is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year. As a general rule, U.S. tax law applies to you if you live in the United States or spend a significant amount of time here.
In the United States everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.
Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax filing obligations.
Marriage green card is a common phrase used to describe a permanent resident card obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Permanent residence is an immigration status that allows a foreign national to live and work in the United States permanently. Generally, the permanent resident may also choose to naturalize as a U.S. citizen once eligible.
A marriage-based green card can be one of the quickest ways to obtain permanent residence. The marriage alone doesn’t provide any immigration status to a foreign national. But marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is a qualifying relationship for a foreign national to apply for immigration benefits.
When filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a spouse, it’s necessary to submit evidence that you have a genuine, bona fide marriage. This can be challenging for a couple that hasn’t had time to join financial accounts or have children. This I-130 affidavit sample can help provide evidence in lieu of other documents.
When filing Form I-751 to remove the conditions on residence, the conditional permanent resident also needs to submit evidence that the relationship was entered in “good faith.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to confirm that the marriage was not entered into for the purposes of evading immigration laws. Much confusion surrounds the need to submit an I-751 affidavit.
These “letters of support” are statements written by people that know the couple and have first-hand knowledge of the relationship. The I-751 affidavit helps support other evidence that the couple submits to demonstrate that the marriage was entered in good faith and is a not a “sham” marriage. Continue reading →
Even if you are filing with a waiver for the joint filing requirement (rather than jointly with your spouse), you will need to prove that your marriage was genuine and not created to circumvent immigration laws.
If you or your spouse recently became a conditional permanent resident through marriage, now is the time to begin documenting your life together. Don’t wait until it is time to file Form I-751 to prove you have a good faith marriage.
A foreign citizen may use the K-1 fiancé visa to travel to the United States for the purpose of marriage to his or her U.S. citizen fiancé. Once married to the U.S. citizen sponsor, the foreign citizen may apply for permanent residence – represented by a green card — inside the United States.
It’s one of two principal ways for a U.S. citizen and foreign citizen to unite in the United States. Alternatively, the couple Continue reading →
An applicant for a family-based green card will need a financial sponsor in the United States before immigrating. Although some new green card holders may be able to find employment immediately and support themselves, the financial sponsor is necessary in case things don’t go as planned.
Every person who immigrates based on a family-based visa petition must have a financial sponsor. Whoever files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a family member (or Form I-129F on behalf of a fiancé) must also agree to be the financial sponsor and file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, when the time comes for the person to actually immigrate to the United States.
Foreign spouses who recently married U.S. citizens generally enter the United States as conditional residents. The conditional status lasts for a period of two years. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses the conditional status like a probation period. Before the end of the conditional period, the couple must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence and prove a bona fide marriage. Getting an I-751 approved is essential for the conditional resident to remain in the United States and obtain the permanent 10-year green card. Getting an I-751 denied can result in the foreign spouse being removed from the U.S.
If your Form I-751 is denied, USCIS will send you a letter explaining the reason for the decision. That letter will also include a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court for removal proceedings. Continue reading →
Divorce can be a devastating life event. It’s emotionally exhausting, financially costly and can even affect one’s immigration status in the United States. A divorce after green card may introduce new challenges to a permanent resident. But in other cases, it’s not an issue.
Before you file another application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), take the time to understand how your divorce or annulment may affect your situation.
The questions vary from, “Can I stay in the U.S. after a visa overstay and marriage to a U.S. citizen?” to “What happens if my visa expires and I’m married?” These questions are concerned with obtaining a legal status in the United States despite a period of unlawful presence.
Spouses of U.S. citizens do have special immigration privileges. They benefit from certain provisions in the law that are favorable in cases where the intending immigrant has overstayed a visa. But it’s important Continue reading →